|A herd of seven elephants was found in Nông Sơn district in Quảng Nam Province last year. — Photo courtesy Quảng Nam’s sub-department ofRangers and forest protection|
QUẢNG NAM — A new elephant protection area was launched by the US and the central province of Quảng Nam in mountainous Nông Sơn District on Thursday.
This protected area will conserve 18,977 hectares of critical habitat for one of the last groups of endangered Asian elephants in the province.
The area, part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Green Annamites Project, will be invested with approximately US$24 million in Quảng Nam and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces in assisting Việt Nam’s transition to climate-smart and low-emission development through improved forest protection, enhanced biodiversity conservation, and increased resilience of communities in 2016-20.
The US Government through USAID is working with Quảng Nam’s leaders to improve livelihoods for locals living in and around the protected area, conduct biodiversity monitoring, and raise conservation awareness among locals.
The initiative is part of the larger USAID Green Annamites project that partners with Quảng Nam and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces to promote growth while conserving forests and biodiversity.
“Improving the lives of local communities, conserving biodiversity, and supporting provinces to implement sustainable economic growth programmes are an important part of the US commitment to Việt Nam. We are proud to partner with the Quảng Nam provincial leadership to provide a critical habitat for the endangered Asian elephant, while finding ways to improve the incomes of local farmers,” said US ambassador Ted Osius at the launch.
Việt Nam’s forests and biodiversity are not just important to the country’s culture, but also to sustain economic growth, increase agricultural production, and reduce risk from natural disasters.
|The US ambassador, Ted Osius, and representatives of Quảng Nam Province and NGOs visit a forest in Nông Sơn district in Quảng Nam. — VNS Photo Công Thành|
“I am impressed with Việt Nam’s conservation efforts. The Government of Việt Nam recognises that conservation is just as important to present and future economic growth as investments in infrastructure.
“Việt Nam’s forest cover has been significantly increasing for the last two decades, and the country has established a system of 176 protected areas starting with the first national park, Cúc Phương, established in 1962,” Osius said.
Vice chairman of provincial People’s Committee Lê Trí Thanh said the province has allocated nearly 19,000ha for an elephant conservation centre in two communes – Quế Lâm and Phước Ninh – in the mountainous district.
Last year, a herd of seven elephants was found in the forest in Nông Sơn District.
Head of provincial sub-department of ranger and forest protection Phan Tuấn said the herd could develop as it includes males, females and calves.
He said the project would help local community and rangers protect the endangered elephant herd and rich biodiversity in the region.
The USAID Green Annamites Project, working in tandem with provincial authorities, will engage small-hold farmers and their families to improve livelihoods and increase investment in climate-smart agriculture while conserving natural biodiversity. — VNS